Save The Muppets!

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Save The Muppets!

Postby Multimoog » Sun Nov 13, 2005 4:47 pm

I'm putting this here becasue we Spamusement folks seem pretty Muppet-friendly. I got this from a friend, so I thought I'd put word of it here. Yes, there's a petition to sign, but it's not something like feeding starving children or saving rainforest - it's actually important.

In September 2005, the Muppets Holding Company, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, held open auditions to cast "alternate performers" for the ten main Muppet characters, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo. Save the Muppets!

If you don't want the Muppets to be turned into a box of puppets passed around from one performer to another, sign the petition!

Disney's plan is to replace the Muppeteers .. One Muppet, One Voice.
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Postby Alph Tech / STUART » Sun Nov 20, 2005 3:09 pm

...Jim Henson is dead yet his characters still speak...
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Postby Multimoog » Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:16 am

Caution - long-winded post ahead...

It's different, because when Jim's characters were recast originally, they were done with the intention of one person performing them full-time, until that person either retires or passes away. So far for the last fifteen years it's been Steve Whitmire (who's been with the Muppets since the early 80's and was Wembley Fraggle and Rizzo the Rat among others) playing Kermit, Ernie, The Swedish Chef, etc, since Jim's death. Other characters have been recast as well, but it's been for the same reasons - Miss Piggy and Fozzie are now played by Eric Jacobson because Frank Oz has retired from Muppets, and Statler and Waldorf are performed by Dave Goelz (who performs Gonzo, and now Statler) and Steve Whitmire (Because Richard Hunt, the original performer of Statler passed away shortly after Jim Henson did).

What Disney wants to do - and has already started doing - is have a stable of cheap puppeteers ready to play characters whenever they (Disney) want. Here's what they've done so far - Disney's movies.com website has had a Statler and Waldorf webshow on since summer, with Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire performing. Recently, they've replaced Goelz and Whitmire with two cheaper alternatives, and the difference in the voices and acting are noticable. The Muppeteers aren't happy with this, and neither are the fans. Recently open auditions were held across the country for new Muppeteers, and the auditions were for existing characters - puppeteers were given Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo puppets to perform with.

The end result is a cheapening of the characters. Disney wants puppeteers to be able to appear at malls and on cruises and amusement parks as the actual characters. Think about it like this - if you went to the mall to see Kermit the Frog, and it was being advertised as THE Kermit, would you want to see it performed by a random guy Disney hired or would you want it to be the real Kermit, performed by the puppeteer whos been playing the character for over fifteen years now? It would be like going to the mall to see, I dunno, Britney Spears only to find out it's a woman who, while she does a pretty good impression, isn't really Britney Spears. (I use that as an example - I realise nobody would actually WANT to go see Britney.)

Part of the magic that the Muppets has is that they've always been performed by the same person, on TV, in movies and live appearances. Disney training up replacements takes a lot of that away, cheapening the characters and a lot of people's memories of them. One of the cool things about Muppets is that although they're fictional characters, they are celebrities, in that it's a consistent performance by one puppeteer. If you see Kermit doing a talk-show appearance or on Hollywood Squares or some dang thing, it's like seeing a celebrity - it IS Kermit, you know? The whole changebale cast thing kind of ruins the illusion, as has been evidenced by the Movies.com upset. Yes, you CAN physically have multiple performers doing the characters at once, but it takes a lot away from the integrity of the character.

Of course, this is all assuming you (or anyone, really,) cares about it at all. If you don't, feel free to not sign the petition or in fact think about it any more. I care both because I'm a fan and I know some Muppet people. Also, it's another case of Disney using their money to bully a smaller organisation into getting their own way, and it's crappy and should be stopped.
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Postby smrq » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:36 am

Hear hear.
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Postby Chrono Crow » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:14 am

Uhm. . .

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Postby Multimoog » Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:19 am

yeah, that's kinda a mistake.
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Postby Alph Tech / STUART » Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:44 pm

:'(

BECAUSE INTERNET PETITIONS ARE SO EFFECTIVE AND ALL
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Postby Multimoog » Wed Nov 30, 2005 12:57 am

Actually, in this case they are. It's known that the Muppets Holding Company pays a lot of attention to the internet Muppet fanbase, and definately takes it into consideration. How do I know this? I'm good friends one of the Sesame Street puppeteers, as well as a lot of other Muppet fans online. Who are, in turn, good friends with other Muppet employees. That's partially what sparked the whole Save the Muppets thing - friends seeing friends lose work and have a hard time with Disney. If everything that's going on was OK with the Muppet performers, the fans wouldn't have stepped in.
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Postby Alph Tech / STUART » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:40 am

Has the Internet fanbase ever affected the Disney holdings company?
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Postby Chrono Crow » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:16 am

Disney makes porn.
quetzalcoatlus wrote:You should always make sure that all your important pussy cheese and uncle-rapist is backed up, in case your computer crashes.
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Postby Alph Tech / STUART » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Chrono Crow wrote:Disney makes porn.
O RLY?
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Postby kupo » Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:17 pm

Alph Tech / STUART wrote:
Chrono Crow wrote:Disney makes porn.
O RLY?


What do you think the Little Mermaid is? Huh? HUH?
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